Stocks rise for third day but mood gets cautious
Stocks advanced for a third consecutive day Wednesday amid increased investor caution over U.S. tapering uncertainties. The won fell against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi rose 8.51 points, or 0.27 percent, to close at 3,146.81 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 558 million shares worth some 12.7 trillion won ($10.9 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 571 to 281.
Foreigners bought a net 28 billion won, and institutions purchased a net 22 billion won, while retail investors sold 23 billion won.
The Kospi got off to a solid start after rallying for the past two sessions.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite advanced 0.52 percent as investors became optimistic that the Federal Reserve may not hurry the timeline for rolling back its accommodative policies amid the spread of new coronavirus variants.
Local trading turned choppy as investors increasingly took to the sidelines ahead of the Jackson Hole gathering in Wyoming on Friday.
The stock index finished higher, with punters hoping for a Bank of Korea rate freeze on Thursday over spiking virus cases.
Korea added 2,155 Covid-19 cases Wednesday, sharply up from 1,509 cases Tuesday.
"Investors seem to have gone into wait-and-see mode, with daily Covid-19 cases exceeding 2,000 again, and some investors turned to profit-taking after recent gains," Mirae Asset Securities analyst Park Gwang-nam said.
Tech, bio and bank large caps performed weakly, while steel and chemical stocks advanced.
Samsung Electronics edged up 0.13 percent to 75,700 won, but chipmaker SK hynix shed 1.43 percent to 103,500 won.
Internet portal operator Naver decreased 1.6 percent to 430,500 won, while pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics added 0.73 percent to 963,000 won.
Automaker Hyundai Motor closed unchanged at 209,500 won, and chemical firm LG Chem increased 1.52 percent to 799,000 won. Kakao Bank slumped 3.86 percent to 82,100 won.
The Kosdaq gained 4.6 points, or 0.45 percent, to close at 1,017.78.
The local currency closed at 1,168.1 won against the dollar, up 2.5 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year government bonds lost 0.2 basis point to 1.437 percent, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond added 4.3 basis points to 1.29 percent.
BY LEE TAE-HEE, YONHAP [email@example.com]